Letter: AG lawsuit questions EIS process, not Navy’s value

Editor,

State Rep. Norma Smith wrote: “I’m deeply disappointed in Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s misguided lawsuit and attack on our military community on Whidbey Island.”

And I am deeply disappointed in Rep. Smith for her mischaracterization of the situation.

Citizens who bear the brunt of the incessant jet noise are not hostile to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island or to the Navy or to the military or to national security.

They don’t advocate for closing the base.

They only beg that the Navy sends Growler pilots to train at an airfield in a less populated, less environmentally rich and less tourist — i.e. peace and quiet — dependent place.

NASWI was a vital military and community asset before the Growler training flights and will be after the training flights (not the fleet) go elsewhere.

She says, “The vast majority of Whidbey Islanders cherish our service members, and honor their service and sacrifice.”

People who suffer health and learning effects of incessant jet noise cherish our service members and honor their service and sacrifice.

Absolutely.

Implying otherwise suggests that citizens who ask for redress are unpatriotic. This is not an assumption any lawmaker wants to promote.

Citizens from five affected counties just ask that the Navy relocate Growler pilot training to any one of dozens of suitable airfields away from historic communities and heritage farms that have been in families for generations.

She says, “I believe the attorney general’s lawsuit will have a chilling effect on constructive dialogue and solutions going forward.”

Attorney General Ferguson’s lawsuit is precisely because of the chilling effect of the Navy ignoring specific legal requirements for the environmental impact assessment.

Four thousand citizens, some military, submitted cogent comments, using the appropriate channels for constructive dialogue.

They believe, and the AG agrees, that the Navy did not follow required protocols and have asked for redress.

Ferguson’s point: No one, not even the military, is above the law. We are a nation of laws.

Norma Smith, a lawmaker herself, brings up irrelevant points with regard to the case brought by the attorney general.

The only relevant question, hopefully settled by his lawsuit, is: Did the Navy follow the law of the land in authorizing itself to increase Growler training flights at OLF and NASWI.

As vital as national security is, the military cannot function outside the laws of the nation it serves.

Vicki Robin

Langley

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